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Clint Dempsey's punishment will likely be decided today

U.S. Soccer clarifies that MLS has jurisdiction over Dempsey's suspension.

Jane Gershovich/JaneG.Photography

Clint Dempsey's punishment will likely extend beyond future participation in the U.S. Open Cup, a release from U.S. Soccer confirmed on Friday. Although the U.S. Open Cup Adjudication and Discipline Panel will review the incident in the next week, their decision will only apply to that tournament. In all likelihood, Dempsey will receive some kind of ban that is longer than the automatic one-game he'd miss for receiving a red card.

Where this could get interesting and/or scary is in this bit from the release:

In addition, per the U.S. Soccer Policy Manual, any incident of alleged Referee Assault or Abuse by a professional player during a Professional League Member activity is governed by the Professional Leagues Policy Against Referee Assault as outlined in Policy 202(1)(H)-2.

In this instance, MLS has jurisdiction and is reviewing the incident as required by U.S. Soccer policy.

Under the policy, should the League suspend the player from competition with his club, the player would not be eligible to compete in any soccer competition while serving that suspension.

MLS is reportedly meeting today to decide Dempsey's fate. [UPDATE: Word is that a decision will be announced at 12:00pm PST, so in like 35 minutes as of this update] It's possible, although highly unlikely, that MLS will decide that no additional punishment is necessary. More likely is that Dempsey's actions will be termed "abuse" or "assault." If MLS decides that what Dempsey did was merely "abuse," he would be suspended three games. But if a more literal reading of the rules is applied, it's entirely possible that Dempsey could be charged with "assault" and forced to sit out six league games.

A three-game suspension would force Dempsey to miss matches against the San Jose Earthquakes, Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers. But it would also leave him eligible to play in as much of the CONCACAF Gold Cup as Jurgen Klinsmann wants, as it doesn't start until July 7.

The six-game ban would keep Dempsey out until after the July 17 match against the Colorado Rapids. That would also render Dempsey ineligible to play for the United States until after the Gold Cup quarterfinals, and could well cost him a spot on the team.

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